The developers of the 138 MW Jeffreys Bay wind farm, in the Eastern Cape, as well as a 50 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in De Aar and the 50 MW solar PV farm in Droogfontein, both in the Northern Cape, expect to begin construction soon and say all projects should be fully operational by mid-2014.
Collectively the projects will produce 635 GWh of electricity yearly, which the developers estimate to be sufficient to supply up to 48 000 households, but the value of the individual projects was not disclosed.
All three projects were named as part of the first batch of 28 preferred projects unveiled following the first bid window under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP), which kicked off in 2011.
On November 5, government and Eskom signed the implementation and power purchase agreements required for the first REIPPP to move towards financial closure.
The projects are being pursued by a consortium comprising Globeleq, Mainstream Renewable Power, Thebe Investment Corporation, South African engineering firms Enzani Technologies and Usizo Engineering, as well as community trusts. Old Mutual’s Ideas Fund, meanwhile, is an additional consortium member in the Jeffreys Bay wind farm.
The projects are being financed on a limited-recourse basis by a syndicate of lenders lead by Absa and Barclays. The senior lenders include the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and local institutional investors, with the DBSA backing the black economic–empowerment shareholders.
The two 50 MW solar projects will be constructed by Siemens under a lump-sum turnkey engineering procurement and construction contract, while the Jeffreys Bay wind farm will be constructed by Siemens and a South African consortium comprising Murray & Roberts and the Consolidated Infrastructure Group’s subsidiary Conco.
Globeleq CEO Mikael Karlsson described the close of the projects as a “significant milestone” and said the projects would bring environmental, social and economic benefits to the country.
Globeleq told Engineering News Online that it hoped to work with the consortium in future and that it was "actively considering" a submission of projects for the next bid window, which would close in May next year.
Mainstream Renewable Power CEO Eddie O’Connor added that the South African government had “shown tremendous vision and foresight” and had placed the country firmly on the world renewable-energy map.